11th October, 2009 - 3:57 pm
By Christopher Reina
STANDING 10: 2012 Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet
Need a way to quickly dominate your fantasy baseball draft. Check out our tips, strategies and position-by-position tiers.
CLASSICS: Unearned Run Cost
The goal of Unearned Run Cost (URC) is to show how many extra runs a team gives up due to their errors or how successful the team is in not allowing those errors to cost them on the scoreboard.
PLAYER RANKINGS: Final MLB Player Rankings For 2009
Albert Pujols, Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay were amongst baseball's best players again in 2009, but also joining them were Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander, Joe Mauer, Prince Fielder and Felix Hernandez.
LOCKER TALK: A-Rod: Madonna Will Win Me A World Series
Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez believes that his relationship with Madonna will allow him to bring a championship to the Bronx in 2009.
The Opsera is a statistic I created in order to rank teams by how well they hit (OPS) and pitch (ERA). In order to determine a team's Opsera, I take their OPS, move the decimal point over one place to the right and then subtract the team's ERA from that number.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers: 4.17
The Dodgers won eight fewer games than the Yankees, but scored seven more runs, largely thanks to sharing a division with the Padres and Diamondbacks. Rick Honeycutt's pitching staff led the majors in ERA with a mark of 3.41. The Los Angeles bullpen was especially dominant with a 3.14 ERA, which was 35 points better than the second ranked Giants.
2. New York Yankees: 4.13
The additions of Mark Teixeira (9th in the MLB in OPS), CC Sabathia (4th in the AL in ERA and one of four MLB 19-game winners), plus the stretches where A.J. Burnett and Nick Swisher carried the team allowed the Yankees to return to the playoffs and lead the MLB with 103 wins.
3. Atlanta Braves: 3.87
The Braves stormed their way into a late postseason charge and came up a little bit short despite having the MLB's sixth best run differential. Pitching was again a common element, with the staff posting the best fielding independent ERA in baseball.
4. St. Louis Cardinals: 3.81
The Tim Lincecum/Matt Cain combo received a ton of press, but the dominance of Chris Carpenter (2.24 ERA) and Adam Wainwright (2.63) was equally impressive. Tony LaRussa also had the luxury of having Albert Pujols put up another historically dominant season at the plate as the number one ranked player in terms of FIC.
5. Boston Red Sox: 3.71
Boston had an imperfect season, but still managed to return to the playoffs. The club was only 16 games over .500 if you throw out their 16-2 domination against Baltimore.
6. Philadelphia Phillies: 3.65
The Phillies didn't need a late season collapse from the Mets to reach the playoffs for a third consecutive season, as they were in first place for 141 days despite never having a lead bigger than 8.5 games.
7. Colorado Rockies: 3.62
The Rockies had a 36 game swing, going from 12 games under .500 on June 3rd to 24 games over on October 2nd.
8. Chicago Cubs: 3.54
The Cubs finished second in quality starts with 94, but their offense was significantly weaker in 2009 (.738, 21st) than they were last season (.797 OPS, 3rd).
9. Tampa Bay Rays: 3.49
Like the Cubs, the Rays were unable to return to the playoffs, but their problems were on the mound (down to 15th in ERA from 3rd) since their lineup was even more productive in 2009.
10. Los Angeles Angels: 3.47
Thanks to the incredibly shrewd signing of Bobby Abreu and the breakout season for Kendry Morales, the Angels withstood the Nick Adenhart death, a slew of injuries and the upstart Rangers.
11. San Francisco Giants: 3.44
The Giants were as bad at the plate as they were good on the mound, with a .309 on base percentage, a low we haven't seen since 2003 when the Tigers and Dodgers had marks of .300 and .303 respectively.
12. Seattle Mariners: 3.29
The Mariners were downright incredible defensively, finishing the season with a team UZR of 85.4, which was far ahead of the second ranked Rays.
13. Florida Marlins: 3.27
The Marlins were my sleeper pick to win the NL Wildcard and I was sitting very confidently after that 11-1 start, but the 9-20 May made their late season charge a tough hole to come out of.
14. Chicago White Sox: 3.26
Ken Williams had one of his strangest seasons given his moves for Jake Peavy and Alex Rios, followed by his seemingly premature concession where he dealt Jim Thome. Given the way Detroit stumbled and Minnesota charged into the playoffs, Williams very well might have punted away a legitimate postseason opportunity.
15. Toronto Blue Jays: 3.26
If Vernon Wells continues to be a low .700s OPS hitter, he will have the absolute worst contract in baseball.
16. Texas Rangers: 3.26
The Rangers had a 78% success rate in their save opportunities, which was best in baseball.
17. Minnesota Twins: 3.24
The Twins were the lowest ranked playoff team, which isn't surprising given how their style is to grind, grind, grind.
18. Detroit Tigers: 3.18
In terms of FIC, Justin Verlander was nearly as good as Zack Greinke as the second ranked pitcher.
19. Arizona Diamondbacks: 3.00
The D-Backs have a ton of talent, but were never in the race as they were plagued by inconsistency that has to be at least partially because of having the youngest lineup in baseball.
20. Oakland Athletics: 3.00
The A's had the third best bullpen ERA (3.54) in all of baseball despite logging more innings than any team other than San Diego. Andrew Bailey and his 1.84 ERA in 83.1 innings/9.83 strikeouts per nine innings rate was of course a huge part of that.
21. Cincinnati Reds: 2.94
Joey Votto was largely a man alone in Dusty Baker's lineup, posting a .981 OPS with no teammate with at least 300 at bats hitting even .780.
22. Milwaukee Brewers: 2.84
Prince Fielder finished the season ranked second in FIC amongst hitters, while Ryan Braun finished sixth. It is rare for any team to have two of the top-six hitters in the game in one season, let alone small market teams, so not making the playoffs in such years is especially frustrating.
23. New York Mets: 2.84
The Mets' OPS was 110 points lower than the crosstown Yankees during the inaugural season of their respective ballparks.
24. Houston Astros: 2.65
Wandy Rodriguez's 3.02 ERA ended up being wasted in a season in which Roy Oswalt was a very mortal 4.12 with a drop in his K/9 rate.
25. San Diego Padres: 2.64
Adrian Gonzalez is clearly wasting his prime in a bad hitter's park and on a bad team; his adjusted OPS was third in the NL.
26. Cleveland Indians: 2.50
I really liked Cleveland to win the AL Central with Grady Sizemore having an MVP season, which wasn't even close in the end due to a 65-97 record and .788 OPS in just 106 games respectively.
27. Pittsburgh Pirates: 2.46
As enlightening of a fact as you'll see about the state of this franchise: Pittsburgh's closer Matt Capp had a 5.80 ERA.
28. Washington Nationals: 2.43
Washington pitchers struck out just 5.76 batters per nine innings of work, which should improve tremendously once Stephen Strasburg reaches the big leagues.
29. Kansas City Royals: 2.41
The Royals were the worst defensive team in baseball, which is almost completely inexcusable given the lack of quality bats.
30. Baltimore Orioles: 2.32
This was supposed to be the season where Matt Wieters became the next Joe Mauer, but his 2009 results were fairly ordinary, though he did have a strong (.936 OPS) September.